Book Review: Tommyland
So I’ve decided to write a couple reviews for books I’ve read…keeps me busy, anyway.
Tommyland is nothing you wouldn’t expect from Motley Crue’s wild and crazy drummer, Tommy Lee. It opens with a chapter in which Tommy (known in a past life as Thomas Lee Bass) has an intimate and ultimately unenlightening “conversation” with his privates. The penis also makes frequent interjections throughout the book.
If content such as this is shocking or seems rediculously unfunny to you, this book probably isn’t one you’ll enjoy, because there is plenty of it.
If you’re a big fan of english grammar and proper syntax and semantics, this book probably isn’t one you’ll enjoy. Heck, this blog probably isn’t one you’ll enjoy. My apologies.
To put it frankly, this book is written in Tommy’s native language. You can almost hear his voice talk through the pages…frequent use of profanity and words such as “dude”, “craise”, and “whatup”. The language actually adds a degree of realism and validity to his stories and statements, and helps the book move a little faster…it’s less like a novel and more like a conversation. Sometimes this was distracting and a little juvenile, but most of the time it didn’t bother me.
For all his hard rock/gutter rat sensibilities, I actually found Tommy Lee to be surprisingly thoughtful, which was something I didn’t altogether expect. I had prepared myself for all the stories about his drug use and sexual exploits, but the genuine love he expresses for his parents and his children and his friends was something I didn’t assume would play a big part in the book. I guess I expected the book to be less about who Tommy Lee really is, and more about addressing the juicy gossip surrounding his life. However, I was touched by the frequent inclusions of thank you notes and sweet sentiments he wrote to everyone from ex-wives to ex-bandmates…for all the wonderful times they had and the wonderful ride through life they enjoyed together and the difference those individuals made in Tommy’s life…even though some of them are no longer in it (at least, they weren’t at the time of printing).
As a reader (and a Motley Crue fan, to boot) I came in with the perception of Tommy being a big ADD kid-a sweet kid, but a bit brainless. Thats how he is perceived by the press and seemingly by a lot of his close acquaintances, even Tommy Lee himself. In many cases, Tom is exactly that-full of energy, never sitting still, amusingly distracted by everything going on around him and wanting to be a part of it all. But in the paragraphs where he calms down, loses his puppy-like qualities and talks openly and candidly, we see him as being so much more. He is a person who likes to read, and who sees a lot to be gained from the pursuit of knowledge. He likes to try new things and stretch his boundaries. He loves his children and truly does seem thankful for the blessings he has been given. In many ways, he almost seems to be trying to use his book as a means to a greater good, hoping it will inspire and influence others to live better, just as the books he read in jail helped him live better and get his act straight.
While this is not a book for everyone, and It is by no means the best book I’ve ever read, I truly appreciate Tommy’s honestly and his desire to share his story and share the things that have made a difference in his life. In the end, I think the parts of the book that I carry with me in my memory are not going to be the gossipy stories of rock-n-roll excess, but the quiet moments where he looks us straight in the eyes and has a heart-to-heart discussion about what matters most. Those are the moments you don’t expect to have with a rock star. And thus, those are the moments worth savoring.